Western Mongolia

Achit Nuur Lake

Achit Nuur is the largest fresh water lake in Uvs province at the edge of Bayan-Ulgii province. At an elevation of 1464 m the above the sea level it covers an area of 290 It is 28 km long, 16 km wide and 10 m deep covering 311 The coast is covered with steppes, mostly hilly but swampy on the northwest. Several rivers also flow into the lake. Its water joins to Khovd River and is fed by White lake, Khatuu River, Bukh River and Uliastai River that flow from Siilkhem Mountain, the branch of Mongol Altai Mountain range. 

Altai mountain Range

It is the biggest mountain range with snow capped peaks, stretches for 1500 km parallel to the county’s south western border. It has great 5 peaks that are elevated at higher than 4000 m above the sea level. The area is one of the last refuges of Altai argali that is the world’s largest wild sheep, and of an important population of the endangered snow leopard.

Altai Tavan Bogd (National Park Altai Tavan Bogd)

Altai Mountains are the braid that intertwines high mountain ranges of incomparable beauty alternating moorlands, gorges, rivers and valleys sprinkled with small towns rich with culture and old traditions.

The Altai Mountains are recognized as the one of the huge long ranges that form a chain of unbroken highlands in Central Asia. In Mongolia, Altai extends up to 2000 km and is one of the most popular natural wonder in the country, attracting thousands of visitors every year, from all around the world.

There are pristine lakes and rivers, glacier parks, snow-capped peaks, and green mountain forests. The Mongol Altai mountain range is a paradise for nature as well as adventure sport lovers. It offers many opportunities for all types of outdoor activities such as trekking, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and cave exploration. The mountain range boasts of unimaginable natural beauty that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

Located in the remotest corner of the most pristine and wildest country in the world Tavan Bogd area comprises of clear lakes, rushing streams, lush alpine pastures, snow capped peaks and vast glaciers. All the above make the area perfect for trekking, hiking, mountain biking, apart from mountaineering. Home to a number of Mongolian exceptionally authentic ethnicities, Tavan Bogd area has a wealth of culture and ancient history to offer to adventurous travelers. Here lie the tombs of nomadic warlords of 6th century AD, next to their even more distant ancestors who left whole galleries of rock carving art. Potanin glacier is the biggest glacier in Mongolia. It stretches 20 km in long and 200-300 m in wide.

Baatarkhairkhan Mountain

It is a small rocky mountain that situated at 8 km in Khovd province (Baatarkhairkhan at altitude 48000’ north, at longitude 91038’ east). This mountain was called “Taliin Ulaan” (Red of Steppe) before 1912. During the battle to release Mongolia from Manchu Empire in 1912, the main force of the Mongolian troops placed at this mountain and attacked through 6 sides to the town. Thus, in honor of this victory, this mountain was renamed as “Baatar Khairkhan” which means “Hero Mountain”) on August 7, 1912. It has been worshipped since 1931. On the rock of this mountain, there are large numbers of rock paintings which have images of hunter with archery, red deer, ibex, foxes, lynx, man, camel, two horses, small boy riding young horse and several letters in Sanskrit and Tibet.

Bayan –Ulgii

The Kazakh dominated province of Bayan-Ulgii lies in the western corner of the country touching both China and Russia in 1636 km from Ulaanbaatar. The highest peaks reach over 4000 m and permanently covered by snow and ice. The lowest areas are formed of rocky desert hills. The population is composed of 78 percent Kazakh, 17 percent Uriankhai and a small percentage of Dorvot, Torgut and Khalkh. In the old Tuvan district from Tuva and Turkic minority of Tsengel there now live about 1500 Tuvans who form the second Turkish speaking minority of Mongolia after Kazakh. Like Mongols the Kazakh are nomadic livestock breeders and live in the gers. Bayan–Ulgii is home to two unique festivals. In March, the locals here celebrate Nauriz traditional Kazakh holiday that celebrates the coming of spring. In the first week of October eagle hunters gather in the province center for the Golden eagle Festival. Competitions are held for the best trained eagle, while women participate in competition for the best tuskiigiiz (wall hangings). The festivals show strength of Kazakh traditions in this area, returned to be stronger than anywhere in the country of Kazakhstan.     

Bodonch River

It takes its source from Munhkhairkhan Mountain and flows from 180 km through a sheer canyon and finally desiccates.

Buureg Deliin els sand dune

Buurug deliin els in Mongolia is the largest desert (sand dunes) in the north of the world.  Buurug deliin els sand dunes stretch about 180 km in long, 50 km in wide and 70-80 km in height. Whole area is 4000 sq.m. The road between Ulaangom and Moron passes the Boorog Deliin Els sand dunes which lead to Altan Els (Golden Sands), part of the Uvs Nuur Strictly Protected Area. Altan Els is another wonderful area for wildlife, if you can find any. The Altan Els are on the border of Uvs and Zavkhan provinces, and are an easy detour from the Ulaangom-Moron road.

Chono Kharaikh River (Wolf Jump River)

From the northeastern edge of Khar Us Lake short but a deep river called Wolf Jump River flows southeast and passes through Khovd's recently completed hydroelectric dam, which gives power to Khovd province. Although Durgun Lake receives its water from freshwater Khar Nuur, it is a saltwater lake. Between the lakes there is a majestic Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain, 3,796 m tall, and part of the Mongolian Altai Mountain Range. This river takes its source from Khar Us Lake in Great Lakes Depression and flows for 20 km and then feed the Khar Lake. Beginning part of this river flows through deep gorge which makes the nature most beautiful.

Dechinravjaalin Temple

The Dechinravjaalin temple built on the site of the original monastery, found in 1757. The old temple complex had seven temples and 2000 resident monks. There used to be 14 monastic complexes in Uvs province. The north west of Ulaangom near Buural River in Turgen village is ruins of the large and famous monastery of Dashchoilin.   

Eagle hunting

Eagle hunting was mainly practiced in the western regions of Mongolia. The traditional eagle hunting has existed for 2000 years and still going strong among the Kazakh people. Each bird was intended to hunt a particular type of animals. Apart from foxes, golden eagles usually catch corsac and hares. Strong, rapacious, well-trained eagles are proved as good for hunting hoofed animals and even wolves. Hawks are used for geese and bustards. Sparrow-hawks are as a rule used for hunting hares while goshawks are used for quails. Falcons and marlins proved to be excellent for hunting smaller birds. In the past, hunting birds were extremely expensive: a good golden eagle could cost 5-6 camels and a falcon cost 1-2 camels.

Training an eagle is a long and serious business. The bird must first of all learn to stay perched on piece of wood and its head covered by a hood that prevents it from seeing. Then it must learn to fly and return to its master when he called. It is taught to catch small animal and skin, next it is swung on a rope for hours and at the end get it used to the horse gallop. Here only the female birds stronger and more aggressive than the males are used for hunting. She will live in her owners home like a pet, but is somehow regarded as a part of the family as she brings luck. A good eagle will catch up 50 animals in one season. At the age of about 9-10 the eagle returned to the wild so that she can find a mate.   

Eagle hunting season starts with first night frosts and continues from November through February. This schedule was set in old days because furry animals have the best fur in winter. Falcon and Merlin hunting starts in late September when birds are preparing for migration and lasts until the first snow falls.

As a result of several centuries of selection, people of the region developed a special breed of hounds. Its distinguishing features are an outstanding ability to chase a prey, sharp-sightedness, and speed. Mostly, tazy are used to hunt hares, badgers, marmots, foxes and wolves without guns. Tazy are beautiful, graceful and elegant dogs with a sense of dignity. Tazy can be translated as "clean". Kazakhs of the past maintained a special treatment for these dogs: tazy was designated a special place in a yurt covered with warm, soft cloth and a special felt sack was taken for each hunting to keep the dog warm during hunting. As a legend talks, an excellent tazy was accepted as bride-money estimated at 47 horses.

Hunting with Golden Eagle is one of the most unique features of the Kazakh life. The hunter is named kusbegi or berkutchi. The experience of wild birds training was gained by Kazakh kusbegi by centuries, the secrets were impacted from the father to the son and kept deep secret. At the present time we can meet few people with such names. These masters have innate gift of wild bird training. For hunting they tame falcons, golden eagles and eagles. Names of birds are given depending on their appearance and battle characteristics. Once the festival has ended you will be able to discover the beautiful surrounding landscape of the Altai - picturesque glaciers, high Rocky Mountains, lakes and ancient rock paintings.

Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain

This mountain is involved in Mongol Altai Mountain range and separated by the valley of Khar Us Lake and Zereg Lake. Here, there are endangered wild animals such as argali, ibex and snow leopard. 

Kazakh people’s culture

The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia (largely Kazakhstan, but also found in parts of Uzbekistan, China, Russia, and Mongolia). The Kazakhs were introduced to Islam through contact with the Tatars. Tatars traditionally were not as conservative as other Muslim people. Because the Kazakhs were wanderers who depended on livestock for their survival, animals were at the core of the ancient Kazakh religion. 

In the first time, nearly 20 Kazakh families moved to Mongolia in 1875. The head of Mongolia, Choibalsan had made peaceful agreement with Ospan. Since that time, refugees of Kazakh people started fleeing to Mongolia. In 1940, according to the presidium, Bayan-Ulgii province was established for Kazakh people. Kazakh men are famous for hunting eagles. They have been using hunting eagle for long time. 

Based on nomadic roots, horse meat and mutton (meat from sheep) are the basis of a majority of Kazakh dishes. Dishes include shuzhuk (a type of sausage made from smoked horse meat), and kuyrdak. Kuyrdak (also spelled kuirdak) is prepared from a freshly slaughtered horse, sheep, or cow, and consists of the animal's heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs. They are cut into pieces, boiled in oil, and served with onion and pepper. Basturma is mutton eaten with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. Round, flat loaves of bread accompany most meals.
The ancient Kazakh homeland has produced numerous talented musicians and singers. Music is part of everyday Kazakh life. It is played for military expeditions, weddings, funerals, parties, and games. Almost every Kazakh knows how to sing and play a musical instrument by ear. 

A traditional form of Kazakh music is the sazgen, a folk music quintet that includes traditional string and percussion instruments. The most popular folk instrument is the dombra, which has two strings and is played by plucking. Other traditional instruments include the sybyzgy and uran (wind instruments), the dangyra and dabyl (percussion instruments), and the sherter and kobyz (stringed instruments).
Kazakh nation's Golden eagle hunting is one of the oldest ways of food hunting. Our ancestors in Eurasian steppes mastered in eagle hunting several thousand years ago. A proof of this fact is Bronze Age petro glyphs. Hunting with birds and hounds has always been considered an art. The actual course of hunting, graceful movements of animals, emotions and passions of the hunters made it a festival. A steppe hunter derived great pleasure from the tandem of a dog and a hunting bird.

Khankhukhii Mountain chain

The Khankhukhi Mountains are the vast chain that stretches for almost 180 km. They are located north of Khyargas Nuur and the highest peak, Duulga Uul is nearly 3000 m high. In 1905, a violent earthquake shook the region, centered on 400 km and 20 m wide fault line. The fault extends from north of lakes Oigon and Bust-Khar and crosses the whole province from Zavkhan to Lake Sangiin Dalai.

East of the Khankhukhii at a place known as Khar Us used to be a Monastery of Zorigt Van Navaantseren Khuree which was destroyed in the earthquake in Undurkhaan village. On the south slopes of the mountain called the 33 Khankhukhii, a ritual of veneration called the White standard used to be carried out each autumn. The ceremony included a great Naadam (sport festival) and honored for Tsagaadai Khan, a son of Genghis Khan. 

Khar Us Lake National Park

Khar Us Lake, a National Park is significant because of its rich natural and cultural heritage. The park is also home to a number of protected plants and animal species that are considered rare or endangered. These include the Snow Leopard, Mongolian Saiga, Argali, Dalmatian Pelican, White-Headed Duck, and Altai Onion. KUNNP was established in 1997 and was designated as the Wetland of International Importance during the Ramsar Convention in 1999.

Huge number of water birds and other species use the KUNNP as a breeding, molting, and migration stop-over site. Due to their high conservation value Khar Us Nuur, Khar Nuur, and Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain have all been designated as Important Bird Areas. 

Wetlands of the Central Asian Internal Drainage System are of particular biological significance as their plants and animals are usually derived from their chance dispersal over vast distances of the surrounding arid landscapes. In isolation from other populations and subject to different evolutionary pressures, several species evolved in new and unique ways. A good example is the existence of three fish species of the genus Oreoleucicus at KUNNP, all of which are endemic to the region. Plants and animals which have evolved in an isolated ecosystem can be more vulnerable than their ecological counterparts which have evolved in a more competitive environment.

This river takes its source from Khar Us Lake in Great Lakes Depression and flows for 20 km and then feed into Khar Lake. Beginning part of this river flows through deep gorge where hydro electric power station was built.

Khar Us Nuur (Black water lake)

Khar Us Nuur, 8,503 National park contains all of Khovd province’s major lakes, most notably Khar Us Nuur, a freshwater lake whose name means "Black Water Lake.  Khar Us Nuur saltwater lake is located south east of the Kharkhiraa Mountain in Umnugobi village. Huge fresh water lake, covering the area of 1852, elevated at 1157 m above the sea level. It is shallow lake with 4.5 m in the deepest part, is not the most scenic lake in Mongolia, but is real draw for birdwatchers. It is the second largest freshwater lake after Lake Khuvsgul, though its depth reaches an average of just 4 m. The lake runs into Chono Kharaikh River.

The Khovd River the largest river in the province empties into the Khar Us Lake delta, and creates a body of water that is an important stop point for migratory birds; for those interested in watching the birds the best viewing times are in May and late August.

There are around 10 islands formed by tectonic activity. The biggest island is called Agbash which divides the lake into the parts.

Kharkhiraa Mountains

Mongolian and international climbers have been drawn to the snow-capped peaks of this range. The highest Kharkhiraa stands at 4037 m above the sea level close by the equally impressive mountain Turgen –Uul 3965 m. The area reaches from the Kharkhiraa valley in Tarialan village, 34 km from Ulaangom. Hikers should come provisioned with all supplies and climbing gear. It is eternal snow capped mountain located in Uvs province.

Khasagt –Khaikhan strictly protected area

This protected zone is named after the Khasagt –Khairkhan Mountains, a range that marks the central point of the reserve. The highest peak is a Mount Khasagt Bogd (3578 m) surrounded by the Khuis and Sharga Gobi to the west and south west and by the basins of Zavkhan River to the north east. The reserve of steppe, mountain and Gobi includes summits over 3000 m next to Gobi at 900 m. Its geographic diversity brings together in a single mountain zone, a varied combination of animals and plants. Of all the reserves of Mongolia this one offers the widest variety of protected species. Fauna here includes argali, ibex, snow leopard, marten, Altai pheasant, bearded vulture and other rare species.

Khoid Tsenheriin agui

Khoid Tsenkheriin agui is very popular hollow cave because of its rock paintings. Mongolian and American scientists have discovered stone weapons in the cave that were used by ancient people about 700 years ago.

This is one of the largest caves in Mongolia, with a main chamber at least eighty-five feet high. A rock fall in 1995 blocked off one long extension in the cave, but several smaller galleries leading off from the main chamber still remained. It was reportedly inhabited by Stone Age people during the Upper Paleolithic, 10,000 to 40,000 years old. The cave is famous for its rock paintings, which have been dated to 17,000–22,000 years ago. Done with light pink and red-brown ochre pigments, the paintings depict Paleolithic fauna such as mammoths and ostriches which are no longer found in the area, as well as camels, ibex, deer, and other more familiar animals.

Cave of Khoid tsenkher is registered in the UNESCO "World Cultural Heritage List in 1996 and it was protected in 1974.   

Khoton Lake, and Khurgan Lake

Khoton lake is fed by more than 10 rivers and streams which fed by snow and ice water such as Black Khovd, White Khovd, Chuluut (Rocky) and Zagastai (Fishy) drain 2670 square km area of Altai Tavan Bogd  and Rashaan mountain range. The lake has an island with forest, bushy trees, and glacial thick sediments from the quaternary era mostly sand, clay and break-stone covered the bottom of Khoton Lake. Along lakeshore, there is forest and bushy trees as well as some migrating birds are seen. The lake is home to many species of fish.

The Khoton and Khurgan lakes are second largest and clearest of all lakes in Mongolia. The average depth is 26 m, the maximum depth is approximately 58 metres.
The landscape around the lakes is stunning: with forests and the snow-capped Altai Mountains. Khoton and Khurgan lakes are home to the grayling (thymallus arcticus) and the lenok (brachymystax lenok). The lakes are located in an intermountain tectonic depression in the northern portion of the Mongolian Altai Region. The lakes themselves, as well as the mountain rivers which feed the lakes, offer excellent sport fishing in a rugged and virtually unpopulated area.
Surface area is 50.1 km2; the average depth is 26.6 m; the maximum depth is approximately 58 m. Khoton lake has one Iceland which is covered by woods. The system of Khoton and Khurgan lakes, connected by a wide channel, is the source of the Hovd river which drains the whole Mongolian Altai. Lake Khoton was formed by glacial blockages. Khurgan nuur is the lowest point of Altai Tavan Bogd National park.

Khovd River

Khovd River rises in the permanent snow of Tavan Bogd Mountain and flows 516 km into the Khar Us Lake forming a wide marshy delta, a favorite habitat of geese, partridges, ducks and gulls. In the middle of the lake is an island called Ak-Bash, ‘white head‘in Kazakh.

The Khovd-Buyant river basin is situated in Western Mongolia and is part of the Altai-Sayan Eco-region and still a relatively pristine area. The Khovd River is about 640 km in length. The Khovd river basin is an inland basin, water comes from precipitation from clouds. The river basin comprises as well as high mountain area with more than 30 glaciers, middle mountains with permafrost and a lower mountain, steppe and desert landscape connected to the Gobi desert with fresh water and wetlands and salt water lakes.

The main tributaries are the Tsagaan River and Sagsai River. The Khovd River supports special fish, such as Khovd Umber (Thymallus brevirostris) and other species.

Khyargas Nuur (Khyargas Lake)

Lake Khyargas, one of the largest saltwater lake, with sandy shores, is located 90 km south-east of Ulaangom, at 1426 m above the sea level, one of the top attractions in Western Mongolia. Another smaller lake Khyargas which contains saltwater covers an area over 146.8, has a length of 75 km, with about 31 km width and reaches a deep of about 80 m, elevated at 1028 m above the sea level. The lake fed by river Zavkhan and other smaller rivers via Airag nearly located smaller fresh–watered lake. The lake and its surrounding area were proclaimed as a National park and established in 2000 and covers about 3328 area. The basic attraction of the lake is Khetsuu khad (Hard Rock), an enormous rock sticking out of the water that attracts migratory cormorant birds. The birds arrive in April and hatch their young in large nest built on the rock. By October the cormorants are off again, migrating back to their breeding grounds in southern China. It is formed in tectonic depression thus creating beautiful capes and island. The Zavkhan River feeds Lake Airag, which is connected to Khyargas Lake by channel. The water is brackish and has rare fish such as Mongolian Grayling, Stone Moroko.

Milky-white Tsagaan River

Tsagaan River joins to Khovd River 9 km north of the center of Tsengel village. Tsagaan River has white-colored water. After the confluence of the Tsagaan and Khovd rivers (distance of 500 meters) the water color of the Tsagaan river changes. Tsagaan river water is white-colored because the river takes its source from the Mountain of Tavan Bogd Mountain with eternal snow and melted water carries away the clay in colloidal suspension from the glaciers.

Mongol khuumii

Mongol Khuumii or throat singing involves producing several simultaneous tones with human voice. It is a difficult skill requiring special ways of breathing. One tone comes out as a whistle-like sound, the result of locked breath in the chest being forced out through the throat in a specific way, while a lower tone sounds as a base. Khoomii is considered musical art, not exactly singing, but using one’s throat as an instrument. Depending on the way air is exhaled from the lungs, there are various ways of classifying khoomii, including Bagalzuuryn (laryngeal) khoomii, Tagnainy (palatine) khoomii, Khooloin (guttural) khoomii, Hamryn (nasal) khoomii, and Kharkhiraa khoomii: under strong-pressure in the throat, air is exhaled while a lower tone is kept as the main sound. Professional khoomii performers are often in west part of Mongolia.

Munhkhairkhan Mountain

It is the part of main chain of Mongol Altai Mountain Ranges, extending 100 km from northwest to southeast. Munhkhairkhan Mountain has eternal snow and glacier covering an area of 200 The highest peak is Tavan Khumst that attains 4.205 m above the sea level. 

Namarjin Valley

Tsambagarav, a branch of Mongol Altai mountain ranges is a large mountain with eternal snow and has an altitude of 4195 m above the sea level. Right part of Tsambagarav Mountain is called Namarjin Valley. This valley is a foot of the mountain. So it is very comfortable and ideal for herdsmen families. In summer time, Kazakh and Uuld ethnic people live here.

Orog Lake

The lake lies at the edge of sand dunes of Ikh Els in Bogd village. The lake surface is at        1198 m above the sea level and covers 140 Water is rich with different species of fish. The abundance of food and secure nesting places attract flocks of birds –Dalmatian Pelican, Mute Swan, Bar-headed Goose, Swan, Goose and Little Whimbrel.

Pass of Nam

Burkhan Buudai Mountain, a main branch of Mongol Altai Mountain ranges, is situated in the front of depression of Biger Lake in Gobi Altai province and elevated at 3765 m above the sea level. It has been protected by Mongolian government since 1996 as a Natural Reserve because of its natural beauty and rich flora and fauna that represent all the feature of Altai Mountain ranges.

Statue of Tsorghiin Ekh

Numrug village includes three ibex carved on the stone around the tomb that accompanies the statue. About 300 m from the stone figure is a complex of fifty balbal.

There are two statues in the Yaruu valley, without heads. Not far from the first statue is a tomb with 14 balbal stones. Another tomb can also be seen near the second tomb.

A statue of a woman 1.6 m tall is located in Zagastai area of the Khatavch valley, Ider village. Nearby is another much smaller statue.

Rock carvings have been identified in Tsagaan Khairkhan village, in the north – east of Bulnai village.

Tolbo Nuur (Spot Lake)

Tolbo Lake is located in the west of Tolbo village center is a large saltwater lake covers 185 (18 km long) located at 2080 m above the sea level. This was the site of memorable battle in 1921. After intense clashes which lasted for 42 days, joint units of the regular Mongol army and the Soviet Red Army overpowered the detachments of the White Guards and drove them out of the country. The event is commemorated by a monument south of the lake near the town of Tolbo. Close to Tolbo lake is an area called Bayan Enger where researchers have found number of rock carvings.

Tsagaan Salaa rock and Baga Oigor

Along the lower Tsagaan Salaa and upper Baga Oigor is "one of the largest rock art complexes in North and Central Asia, and the richest in terms of chronological age, quantity, and quality of imagery". These rocks which are with ancient images stretch 15 km in long, 500 m in wide. It is a wonderful and ancient gallery. There are images of various animal species, hunting scenes, and scenes depicting aspects of human life in the region. We see humans riding and leading animals, loaded caravans and schematic drawings of what we assume are enclosures. Certain imagery seems clearly to have had some kind of religious/ritual significance. Experts treat that along the lower Tsagaan Salaa and upper Baga Oigor is around 8000 years old. The rock images was started to paint in Neolithic age and revived In Bronze Age So this valuable heritage of Mongolia is registered In the UNESCO "World Cultural Heritage List.

Also Ulaankhus village has Tsengel Khairkhan Mountain, snow covered peak of 3967 m. This outstanding mountain is also the source to beautiful rivers like Khovd and Sagsai.  

Tsambagarav Mountain

It is a beautiful large mountain, 4195 m above the sea level, covered by snow year round and is located at the edge of two provinces named as Erdenebulgan, Khovd and Bayannuur, Bayan-Ulgii. Its name means “scared white”. To the south east, at Salkhitiin Shuudain Zost in Erdeneburen village some remarkable engravings have been found on a large rock, representing Hunnu warriors riding caparisoned horses. One the same rock is other riders, hunting scenes, ibex and argali. Apart from the Hunnu warriors most of the carving is thought to be belonged to the Bronze Age. The mountain offers some good hiking, horse trails and camping spots. The snowy peak is also accessible to climbers with crampons.

Tsengel soum

The inhabitants are mainly Tuvans, known as Tsengel Tuvans, whereas the rest of Bayan-Ölgii is populated mainly by Kazakhs. The population of the sum in 2008 was 8,348, with 2,028 living in the sum center.

Of the 12 sums in Bayan-Ölgii, Tsengel is the largest. Although the town itself is bigger than most, it is still just a collection of gravel roads and wooden fences that surround compounds, each containing an earth and log home, possibly a ger or two and invariably a guard dog in a foul mood. Tsengel is 75km from Ölgii on the road to the twin lakes of Khoton Nuur and Khurgan Nuur.

Tugeemel Amarjuulgagai Khiid (Khovd)

The main temple in Hovd, was originally called the Shar sum (Yellow temple), was built in 1770, 10 km from the current village, destroyed in 1937 and rebuilt on the same spot in 1990. By the end of 1990 the monks decided to move it into town, and built a new monastery with new name on the main street. Before the communist purge, Khovd had 19 monastic complexes with around 50 temples.  

Turgen Mountain

This mountain is situated in Mongol Altai Mountain Range, covering 104 with altitude of 3965 m above the sea level. This scenery and beautiful mountain has very interesting natural formations having various natural zones of high mountain, tundra, forest, taiga and forest steppe. It has eternal ice-capped peaks with beautiful glaciers. This mountain occupies 20% of total glaciations of Mongolian mountains. In the lower part of snow peaks larch, Willow Grove and different kinds of bushy plants are grown. This mountain inhabited by various species of wild animals like argali, ibex, deer, snow leopard, Eurasian Lynx, Beech, Siberian Roe Deer, Pallas cat and boar. 

Turgen River

This river takes its source from eternal snow of Turgen Mountain and glacier and flows through high mountain gorge until feeding into Uvs Lake in Great Lakes Depression. The flow of the river is very strong.

Uureg Nuur (Uureg Lake)

The saltwater lake Uureg covering the area of 238, 19 km long and 18 km wide along the Ulgii–Ulaangom road. It is located among superb scenery, surrounding on all sides by the high summits of the Altai Mountain Ranges. The fishing and hiking opportunities are good here and it makes a perfect camping area. Rock paintings representing animals can be seen in the gorge of the Tsagaan River which is a western affluent of Uureg Nuur.

It is formed in closed depression that located between Turgen Mountain and Tsagaan Shiveet, a branch of Mongol Altai Mountain range. This lake is fed by rivers called Tsagaan Shuvuut, Tsagduul and Kharig.

Uvs Lake

Uvs Lake is the largest saline lake (3,350 sq. km) in Mongolia and forms unique wetlands in the Great Lakes Depression. It locates in Tes, Uvs province. With its reed beds and freshwater river deltas it provides significant nesting and resting areas for numerous migratory species. The shallow lake lies at an altitude of 759 m.

Over 38 rivers feed the lake like Tes, Nariin, Kharkhiraa, Turgen, Sagil, Borshoo, Khundlun and Torkhilog etc.

Another value of the hollow is the extremely high biodiversity level shown in the unique mixture of northern (taiga, Siberian) and more southern (desert, Central Asian) flora and fauna species. Lake Uvs is one of the most important biodiversity poles of Eurasia. The Basin of Uvs Lake is characterized by remarkable ecological diversity–desert, marsh, dunes semi desert, steppe, taiga, tundra, and glaciers–in a relatively compact zone. For this reason it is now among the ten world sites chosen for international research program on biospheres.

In the areas of desert and mountain, rare animals as the Mongolian gerbil, the polar cat, the threatened snow leopard, the wild sheep as well as the Asiatic ibex. Since 1997, the Uvs-Nuur-Basin is recognized as UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Ancient traditions of harmony between man and nature are still carefully preserved here, and the ancient culture of the nomads of the steppes still exists in this region. The art of “throat singing” is also preserved here.

Uvs Lake is part of the Uvs-Nuur-Basin compassing different ecosystems. This area ranges from the permanent snowfields in the Turgen mountains over the lakes and wetland areas up to the desert of Altan Els. The whole area measures 10,688 sq. km. The range lies at altitudes between 2,500 and 4,000 m. Since 1997, the Uvs-Nuur-Basin is recognized as UNESCO biosphere reserve. And it became protected area of Mongolia in 1993.

Because of this geographical situation, the Uvs Lake is subject to extreme climate fluctuations.

Temperatures of – 40 °C are normal in winter, also – 58 °C are measured. In summer, the basin warms and the temperatures arrive to + 40 °C. Uvs Lake underlies, compared to locations of the earth at the same altitude, the coldest and the warmest as well as the driest conditions.

At and on the Uvs Lake, more than 220 bird species are counted. 

Zavkhan River

This river takes its source from streams of both sides of Otgontenger Mountain which is the highest peak of Khangai Mountain range. It is 808 km long. The average speed of this river is 0.7-1.2 m per second.